Six years ago today, I was a young 22 year old unwed momma who was terrified holding my firstborn. I loved him, ohhh I loved him. But I was so scared. Would I be a good mom? Would his father and I provide a good, stable home for him? What kind of person would he turn out to be?
The pregnancy and first year or two of Ethan's life was rough. My now husband (Ethan's daddy) and I were in a our third year of an on-again, off-again relationship. He wasn't always good to me, wasn't always supportive of me during those days. He was young too, not ready and undoubtedly scared, unsure of how to cope. I don't blame him for the way he acted. The scar that remains is barely noticeable now, but it was no doubt disheartening and frustrating at the time. I really leaned heavily on my sister and friends to be the support that he wasn't. They were such amazing, unwavering rocks of strength I needed during that time. Every. single. one of them. They screamed and cheered into the phone when I said "it's a boy!" and all ran out buying Ethan all KINDS of cutesty baby clothes. They rubbed my head while I cried, wiped my tears, told me everything would be okay. They drove me to the hospital when I was in labor, walked with me in the halls during my contractions, rubbed my back and face during the hardest part of my labor before the epidural, and lined the halls of the hospital until they got the chance to finally hold sweet Ethan in their arms. They came over and sat with me all night the first weeks of having Ethan home, helping me with anything and everything I needed. They were my strength. They cooed and ahh'd at Ethan, telling me how gorgeous he was and how good of a mama I was. And I needed that. Ohh, how I needed that.
And this is NOT to say that Dave wasn't good. Because he was. He came to the hospital as soon as he could when I told him they were admitting me (he was managing a restaurant and at a regional meeting that afternoon). He was there when Ethan was born, holding my hand. Held Ethan close, changed diapers, got up with us in the middle of the night, was at every doctor's appointment and connected with Ethan immediately. He loves that boy. I can't express in words how much he loves that boy. He called Ethan once his "saving grace." And I believe he's right.
The day I went into labor, Dave's sister was in a bad car accident, and he left my side to make sure Lindsay would be okay. When she was stable, he came right back and was there in plenty of time for the birth. Thank GOD my girls were there when he wasn't! And thank God that Lindsay healed up quickly enough to come see Ethan in the hospital the next day, battered and bruised as she was.
The whole day was a whirlwind of every feeling I could ever have. And it turned out beautifully. He was the most gorgeous baby, with a full head of dark, thick hair and the cutest little face I'd ever seen. God's most precious gift to me.
In the six years since Ethan's birth, we got married, added two more children to our family and have grown in more ways than I can count. I never would have foreseen the amazing stability of the life we now call our own. Ethan was the beginning of all of that.
This is why his birth is such an emotional day for me. You see, because the day he was born wasn't just the day I became a mother. It was the beginning of the rest of OUR lives. As a family. He is quite possibly the glue, the saving grace, the cornerstone of all we are as a family. He's the one that started it all. It's the one day of the year that I reflect on every single relationship I have, and am overwhelmed with thankfulness for it. I think first and foremost about Ethan. Then about Dave, and how far we've come these last six years. Then I think about my amazing God-given friendships, and give thanks for the way they all pulled through for me when I needed them most. I think about my parents and the difficult relationship we had once they found out I was pregnant, and how it's finally been rebuilt. I think about my sister, and how our friendship grew to a whole new level after Ethan was born. I think about how strong of a person I am, how far I've come. Who I am, finally, at 28 years old, is who I hope I stay. I don't know that scared 22 year old girl anymore.
Each January I'm reminded of how much I've grown, how strong I really am, how amazing my life really is. And I'm so proud of my husband, children, friends and family for being the best there ever was. And I'm SO proud of me. Because, quite frankly, I rock.
Libby- thanks for bringing a caseload of batteries to the hospital. The most practical gift, but the one we truly needed the most. You've been an amazing friend to me for more than ten years now, I love you!
Bethany- thank you for your nonjudgment, your prayer, your ability to make me laugh, and for letting me tell you I was pregnant over instant messaging, with no judgement. ;)
Carissa- thank you for walking with me in the mall and driving me to the hospital the day Ethan was born. You were so amazing!
Crystal- I love you. Thank you for walking the hospital halls with me for hours while no one else could be there. You're an amazing friend, one of the best I could ever ask for.
Nansie- thank you. thank you. thank you. the words aren't much, but they pack a big punch. I can't even tell you how important and influential your help those first few months means to me. Best sister EVER.
Ashley- thank you for being my true, bestest friend in the world, doing any and everything I needed you to do, saying anything and everything I needed to hear. And thank you for loving my Ethan so so much.
Teresa- thanks for the wonderful amazing food you brought over that week Ethan was born! Sloppy Joes, potato salad, deviled eggs, mouthwatering ham...you rock my world.
Stephanie, Crystal, Tina, Angie, Shelli, Carly, Jody, Lindsey and All Skate- you guys being there at the hospital all night, causing ruckus and screaming in pure joy when Ethan was born was exactly what I needed. I love you all so much for it!
And for everyone else who was there that day six years ago...who knew and loved me then and knows and loves me now...you're forever a part of this day, this memory for me. I LOVE YOU. And I thank God for you.
me with my big six year old!
2011 is gonna be a good year, my friends.